Residential Color and Style from a Certified True Color Expert.

fireplace

Dismantled Mantel

Image ©Color Calling

My quarter-sawn oak mantel, above,  has been dismantled.  See the raw wood exposed, above?

I have been thinking about how to improve my mantel. A recent shopping trip gave me an idea. 

To accommodate these:

Image ©Color Calling

19th century handcarved pine brackets.

They are resting upside down in case you are wondering.

Those thistles got me. The national symbol of Scotland.

Source: google.com via Ellen on Pinterest

Image ©Color Calling

From a local estate, and found at one of our lovely local antique shops.

Soon they will be vertically (and right-side up) attached to my mantel surround,

incorporated as pilasters.

Sort of an antique, longer version of this. One of my mentors  recently posted this, below, on her

Pinterest page, and I knew that it was speaking to me.

See how the carved brackets  rest and jut right up to the underside of the mantel?

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The eye craves balance

Source: myhomeideas.com via Kay on Pinterest

The eye craves balance.

Do you believe me? Have you ever walked into someone’s house and a painting or mirror is hanging askew?

Does it drive you a bit crazy? Don’t you find yourself wanting to straighten it?

Now, it does not always happen in your own house (this is because your brain will tune out the things that you are seeing regularly.)

The same thing happens with symmetry. Quick, off the top of your head, do you have a favorite room in your house, or a room that you really, really love as your dream room that you saw in a magazine?

Check it out. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that the room is highly symmetrical or balanced.

Rooms that are symmetrical are more pleasing to the eye. They create visual harmony and balance. This is an age-old decorating principle.  

Today we’ll look at rooms with “mirror image” symmetry.  Come along!

Design by Ellen Rhett of Color Calling

Source: houseofturquoise.com via Frances on Pinterest

So, symmetry for the furniture placement is a decorating form that is pleasing to the eye.

“Mirror-image” symmetry is what we see in the bedroom above. Other than the focal point bed+ starburst mirror, there are two of

everything, matching.

Even the nosegays on the bedsides are identical.

The same design principle is true when the decorating is done around a focal point fireplace, or any other focal point.

Source: houzz.com via Kathy on Pinterest

Source: indulgy.com via Kristen on Pinterest

Source:

Source: southernpiphi.tumblr.com via Jean on Pinterest

 

Does your eye crave balance? Are there any places you could add visual harmony with symmetry?


Does your house tell a story?

The story of a house. Landscape Designer extraordinaire Tara Dillard says it best. The narrative. Tara designs gardens that tell a story. I work with houses. Story-telling. Narratives. Narratives are wonderful.

The golden codfish overdoor, above,  is part of the narrative of my little Cape Cod summer cottage. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about going overboard with a cloying theme for your house.  No “Welcome to the Beach” signs over the sink.  I am talking about a simple story-line, a thread, a narrative.  A narrative is how I say “welcome to the beach.” Here is my narrative.  What story does your house tell?


All images ©Color Calling


My Top Ten Tips for Styling a Fireplace Mantel

Tip #1: Use real art, not a mirror, over the fireplace. This will provide depth and character.

Tip #2: If you have a collection, pair it with complementary real art for a statement that is yours alone:

Tip # 3 Bigger is better, but don’t exceed the width of the mantel.

Source: eleanorcummings.com via Emily Cayne on Pinterest


Tip #4 Select art with a color palette that looks good with the rest of the room. This is a good place for a pop of color (that you should repeat three more times in the room.)

Source: tumblr.com via Lauren on Pinterest

Tip #5 No dinky accessories. (These are nicely proportioned.)

Source: houzz.com via Natalie on Pinterest

Tip #6  Handcrafted vases, antique vases, bronzes, antique tapestry hangings, are all good possibilities. Take a look around your house for others. Look for pieces with presence to accessorize.

Source: vacationist.com via Cathy on Pinterest

Tip #7 This is your main focal point in the room. Make it count.

Source: saffroniabaldwin.com via Ann on Pinterest

Tip #7 Use sconces.

Source: Uploaded by user via Sandy on Pinterest

Tip #8 No framed family photographs.  Find other accessories for a more current overall look.

Tip #9 Remember that you must balance the large dark hole of the firebox. Think deep and rich, not dainty, for the over mantel décor.

(#9 Balance the dark hole of the firebox)

Tip #10 Use a portrait light (not shown).

For easy reference, here are my top ten tips for styling a beautiful fireplace and mantel area:
(1) Use real art, not a mirror.
(2) Bigger is better, but don’t exceed the width of the mantel.
(3) This is your main focal point in the room. Make it count.
(4) No dinky accessories.
(5) No framed family photographs.
(6) Handcrafted vases, antique vases, bronzes, antique tapestry hangings, are all good possibilities. Take a look around your house for others. Look for pieces with presence to accessorize. If you have a collection, this may be a good place to incorporate it with a complementary piece of art overhead.
(7) Remember that you must balance the large dark hole of the firebox. Think deep and rich, not dainty, for the over mantel décor.
(8) Select art with a color palette that looks good with the rest of the room.
(9) Use a portrait light over an oil painting.
(10) Add a pair of sconces.